Technology Advisor Blog

Meaningful Use Requirements for Electronic Health Records

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 3/2/11 11:39 AM

MeaningfulUseRequirementsAs part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009, the federal government has created substantial financial incentives for medical practices to implement Electronic Health Records (EHRs).  The Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs offer financial reimbursements to eligible professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals:

Medicare EHR Incentive Program:

  • Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 over five years under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. There's an additional incentive for eligible professionals who provide services in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HSPA).
  • To get the maximum incentive payment, Medicare eligible professionals must begin participation by 2012.
  • For 2015 and later, penalties will apply in the form of a payment adjustments for those who don't meet meaningful use requirements.
  • Medicaid EHR Incentive Program:

  • Eligible professionals can receive up to $63,750 over the six years that they choose to participate in the program.
  • There are no payment adjustments under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
  • At the heart of the Incentive program is the requirement to demonstrate "Meaningful use".  In simple terms, this means that providers need to show they're using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity.

    Specifically, for eligible professionals, there are a total of 25 meaningful use objectives.  To qualify for an incentive payment, 20 of these 25 objectives must be met.  There are 15 required core objectives.  The remaining 5 objectives may be chosen from the list of 10 menu set objectives.

    Requirements include generating electronic medical prescription orders, maintaining an up to date problem list, recording patient demographics, maintaining a medical allergy list, recording vital signs, etc.  The meaningful use requirements are described in detail on the Department of Health and Human Services web site:  Meaningful Use Requirements.

    Topics: electronic health record, american recovery and reinvestment act

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